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CAMPAIGN '88 : Simon Pushes Honesty

November 19, 1987|Maura Dolan

A day after a poll confirmed his front-runner status in Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Paul Simon took to the state's airwaves with two TV commercials that portray him as honest, courageous and trustworthy.

In a campaign in which character has become a central issue, the commercials seek to capitalize on Simon's appeal as a candidate with integrity. "Isn't it time to believe again?" they ask.

One shot shows the U.S. senator from Illinois working at an old black manual typewriter, and he and others recall how he went after organized crime as a small-town newspaper editor.

"I didn't duck when I saw the problem," Simon tells viewers. A former Illinois state legislator says Simon "believed so strongly in what was right." And Harold E. Hughes, former Iowa Democratic governor and U.S. senator, attests: "I trust Paul Simon."

A Des Moines Register poll released Sunday showed Simon running at the top of the pack with the support of 24% of Democrats likely to attend the Feb. 8 caucuses.

Simon's commercials, produced by media consultant David Axelrod of Chicago, began airing Monday for a 10-day run throughout Iowa. One runs for two minutes, the other for one.

They will be competing with those of Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, who on Nov. 5 began a three-week TV blitz. Dukakis' commercials, produced by Payne & Associates of Boston, boast that Dukakis brought Massachusetts from economic despair to economic vitality and show him as a strong opponent of aid to the Contras.

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